The Angels Were Angry

And the angels were angry
At the crispness of the cake
“HOW DARE YOU,” they bellowed,
“MAKE SUCH A MISTAKE?!”

They brandished flaming swords
To bar me from my kitchen —
I felt like such a failure;
I knew they were itchin’

To use their blazing rapiers
Against the likes of me
Because I multitasked disaster
Where disaster oughtn’t be

Oh, the angels were furious
While smoke rose from the range
So I pondered how to soothe them
Then I spotted something strange —

A hero in a paper bag!
He boldly stood between
Me and my catastrophe
Better sight ne’er seen

“Begone!” I think he shouted —
Or maybe it was “Gwam!”
giggle-giggle “Wook! Wook!
Here I am!”

So the knight-in-paper-bag
Took my mind off of burnt cake
And I played with little Henry
Before I cleaned up my mistake.

The Moon

I watch you shine a light that’s not your own
It’s nothing that you’ve mustered from within
The sun but shares its brilliance with you
And you, in turn, reflect a light that’s been

I watch you pausing, caught up in the tree
Peeking in and out of clouds and mist
In and of yourself you have no light
Fraudulant brightness daring to exist

I watch you bring some beauty to this earth
Reflecting, e’er reflecting our great sun
A picture of the way we should reflect
Our mighty God from whom all blessings come

If there’s one thing I love to photograph, it’s the moon. All my pictures are taken on my phone, so they may not be great, but the moon is so beautiful that I just want to capture it.

“What is it you want, Mary? What do you want? You want the moon? Just say the word and I’ll throw a lasso around it and pull it down. Hey. That’s a pretty good idea. I’ll give you the moon, Mary. ”

It’s a Wonderful Life

Manure

You city folks may not understand this
But I love the days when I step outside, and
With one breath I know they’re
Spreading manure down the road

The smell is rich and rank
Honest
No pretense about manure
That’s fer sure

City smells bother me
Exhaust and exhaustion
Mingled with too many people
And not enough sky

Rain on concrete
Smells like waste
But rain on manure
Smells like hope

Daily prompt: lifestyle

U is for Unknown

Sometimes I wish I knew what lay ahead —
What will each new tomorrow bring my way?
Why must I always feel so in the dark?
Or, at the very least, so in the gray?

But, if, one day walking, I should chance
To find a crystal ball that could reveal
My future with one touch, one glance –
Would I dare to look, its prophesies unseal?

Indeed my trembling hand would rise, extend —
Heart-pounding in my breast – loud, hard, fast —
And yet a greater force would apprehend
And stop me seeking this, my own forecast.

For the newness of each day and its unknowns
Are gifts. Yes, they are treasures, don’t you see?
Every day is its own celebration
Full of presents* to be unwrapped by me.

*presence?


Man is from Ox-Cart Man by Donald Hall, illustrated by Barbara Cooney

Crystal ball from The Mapmaker’s Daughter by M. C. Helldorfer, illustrated by Jonathan Hunt

Background from The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything by Linda William, illustrated by Megan Lloyd

Not sure where the building is from

S is for Surprise

Uh-oh

Oh, no!

Surprise!


(1)Boy is from My Dad’s Job by Peter Glassman, illustrated by Timothy Bush

(2)Girl is from Misty: The Whirlpool (from Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry) excerpted and adapted by Joan Nichols, illustrated by Stephen Moore

(3)Rabbits are from The Bunny Book by Richard Scarry


“Rabbits have large families” (3)
“Maureen felt a stab of fear” (2)
“Dad talked about buying futures” (1)
In rabbits? That wasn’t clear…

Can three divergent books
Be joined in harmony?
Each must accept the others
— And a little absurdity.


Above is a partially “found” poem using lines from the pages from which I borrowed the pictures. Wikipedia says, “Found poetry is a type of poetry created by taking words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages from other sources and reframing them as poetry (a literary equivalent of a collage)…

So two collages today!

M is for Moo

To laugh is human — but to moo bovine.

I had such big plans at Christmas. I was going to make teeny collages for all my friends.

Anna loves cows so I made her a cow collage (a cow-lage?). It ended up being one of only two that I mailed out.

She sent me a picture of it on her refrigerator.

I love that it’s right beneath the note telling her that she is an amazing student teacher. I bet she is.


A while ago, while trying to work on using metaphor, I wrote a poem about cows, using Billy Collins’ poem, Litany, as a model.

Bovine

You are the map and the Atlas,
the Big Mac and the shake.
You are a javelin held aloft by a strong arm,
and a smooth wet stone in the hand of a little boy.
You are the fresh-mown grass after summer rain,
and the thunder that preceded the shower.

However, you are not the purr of a kitten,
the wag of a dog’s tail,
or kraa-coo-coo-coo of a mourning dove.
And you are certainly not the whisper of butterfly wings.
There is just no way that you are butterfly wings.

It is possible that you are the flock of sheep,
maybe even the laying hen,
but you are not even close
to being the eagle hang-gliding overhead.

And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the towering pine
nor the creeping myrtle.

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the garbled voice in the drive-through speaker.

I also happen to be the blistered toe in a new shoe,
the frayed pink leash on the dog,
and the unmailed letter waiting for a stamp.

I am also the fuzzy blanket tucked around a child
and the hand-thrown mug filled with coffee.
But don’t worry, I’m not the map and the Atlas.
You are still the map and the Atlas.
You will always be the map and the Atlas,
not to mention the Big Mac and–somehow–the shake.


I felt the need to apologize.


Dear Billy Collins,

I’m sorry that I ripped off your poem. It’s just that I don’t put enough metaphor into my poems and this little exercise is such good practice.

I was thinking about the cows down the road. Cows that aren’t cows because I know cows are female and I’m pretty sure these are male, although I haven’t ventured in to confirm my suspicions.

The chief “cow”, a cranky fellow, comes to the fence and shakes his horns at me when I pass. He wants me to know that he’s tough and armed and that I shouldn’t mess with him.

Years ago, when cows complete with udders grazed in that field, they would nibble grass out of my hand and I loved to feel their smooth wet noses.

So I was thinking about cows (that aren’t cows), and the things they are and aren’t, and wrote this.

I hope you don’t mind.

Dr. Purple Poem

Ah, Dr. Purple. Now they’ve got me thinking about him again.

Years ago, I wrote a lengthy poem about his life, thinking it would make a great children’s book. I sent it off to someone for feedback.  When she didn’t like my first two lines, I thought I should just nix the whole thing.

And I did.

I tucked it away — and had a terrible time finding it this morning. But the prompt today is “elixir” and I thought I could squeeze it into this poem. I couldn’t.

Below is a portion of my poem, telling one story I learned through my research.

the Moore Memorial Library where I spent many happy hours researching Dr. Purple


Dr. Purple lived in Greene
Back when the years began 18–

To provide for his family, with children four,
Dr. Purple opened a store.
There he sold paper and books,
Yankee notions, latches and hooks.
Then, the Postmaster he was named,
And he held the mail ’til it was claimed.

Still he practiced medicine,
For he loved to help his fellow men,
And when an accident occurred,
From his store he strode assured
That he could help the injured one
With bandage, salve, or anodyne.*

In 1856, one February day,
Mr. Mansfield drove his sleigh
Over the canal bridge right in town,
But the horse got spooked
And wheeled around
And tipped the sleigh onto its side.
“Whoa there, Nellie!” Mr. Mansfield cried.

But to the reins he held on tight,
And helpless people watched his plight
While Nellie dragged him forty feet
To Darby’s shop on Genesee Street.

Dr. Purple heard the cries,
Left the Post Office,
Ran outside
To where the injured patient lay
Unconscious on the ground that day.

Dr. Purple got some men
Who carried Mansfield to Whittenhall’s Inn.
When Mr. Mansfield came around,
He was quite bruised,
But otherwise sound.

Mansfield went back home that day –
There was no hospital in which to stay,
And Dr. Purple went back to work,
Sorting mail, just like a clerk,
And selling books and other stuff.
For being a doctor wasn’t enough…

*anodyne – a pain-killing drug or medicine


The poem goes on with other stories of his life.

He was an interesting man — acting as scribe at a local trial for Joseph Smith, testifying in many trials, publishing articles in medical journals and speaking to medical societies, proposing mandatory small pox vaccinations for school children long before that became law, deputized as US Marshall at one point to catch a mail thief, and more.

The question to me is, would other people be interested in Dr. Purple?